FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
ST. CHARLES COUNTY, MO – St. Charles County Department of Public Health (DPH) announces a limited availability of the updated COVID-19 vaccine approved last month. The 2023-2024 COVID-19 vaccine brings a few changes to the distribution and payment processes though, due to privatization.
What makes this vaccine different?
The recent government review and approval of the new COVID-19 vaccine on September 12 means this vaccine replaces the COVID-19 vaccine DPH previously stocked. In other words, the old Omicron booster is no longer authorized.
Although the updated vaccine is a “monovalent” version targeting just one strand of the disease – the XBB.1.5 variant – the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says more than 90% of circulating viruses belong to the same “family” - or sublineages - of the XBB virus. Thus, the new vaccine provides cross-protection for most mutations.
According to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS), “sewershed” data from wastewater treatment plants nearest St. Charles County peg Omicron EG.5 – also a descendant of the XBB strain – as the current most prevalent strain. Other recently circulating strains include Omicron XBB, Omicron XBB.1.5, Omicron XBB.1.9, Omicron XBB.1.16 and Omicron XBB.1.16.6.
What does privatization of the vaccine mean?
Until now, the State of Missouri controlled the distribution of vaccine for Missouri. The new vaccine rollout marks the transition to a commercialized process mirroring vaccine production and distribution for other diseases like influenza.
What will the cost be?
Now that COVID vaccines are being sold commercially, these immunizations are no longer offered free of charge to the public. Most insurance plans – including Medicare – are mandated by law to cover COVID vaccinations, but DPH does not process insurance. Insured recipients will need to pay out-of-pocket and seek reimbursement from their insurer if they obtain their COVID-19 vaccination at DPH.
The cost for the Pfizer vaccine stocked by DPH is $122 per dose for adults and children aged 12 and up. The dose for children ages 5 through 11 will be $87 and the vaccine for children under 5 – including babies 6 months and up – costs $67 per dose.
If you are insured, consult your insurance provider to check your vaccination coverage and determine where you are eligible to receive your vaccine. Your insurer may require you to obtain vaccinations through a retail pharmacy or your physician’s office.
What about the uninsured or underinsured?
Vaccines will continue to be provided for free or at low-cost for eligible uninsured or underinsured children and adults. Contact DPH for COVID-19 vaccine appointments at the number below or check with local physician offices.
How to make an appointment?
To make an appointment or determine if you qualify to receive the vaccine at DHP, please call the main immunization line at 636-949-1857 to schedule or discuss.
Through the efforts of its three divisions — Environmental Health and Protection, Health Services and Humane Services — the St. Charles County Department of Public Health provides a wide range of services that enhance the well-being of the community. To learn how the department assists this region or to find out about volunteer opportunities with any of the divisions, visit sccmo.org/PublicHealth or call 636-949-7400.
October 11, 2023
Contact: Miranda Fleschert
Public Information Officer
636.949.7900 ext. 7408